Children out of their chronological year group and admissions to (independent?) secondary school- thoughts and experiences please(31 Posts)
Our son is due to start reception in September, a month after his forth birthday. He's had a difficult start to his education, as he had been chronically ill with ENT infections, and hearing loss and has verbal dyspraxia (although his underlying language skills are age appropriate). Since having an adenotonsillectomy/grommets in April he has made huge progress and his hearing is now good, although I feel he will be starting school 'on the back foot'. The difference in language skills between him and the older children starting is enormous and learning to read will (I think) take time.
He will attend an excellent (Montessori) primary school with an hour of additional support each day and I have no doubt that this is the right choice. However, I am also tempted to keep him in their early years classroom (yr R and Yr 1) for 3 years, so he goes from being the youngest in his year to (just) the oldest. Although this won't be obvious in his Montessori setting, I am aware that this means he will be out of year group.
Does anyone have any experience of how independent schools view this in terms of admissions? I would obviously not want him to have 'jump' a year group and also don't want to limit our choice of high schools because of an early decision to keep him down a year. I am aware that 11+ may not be a possibility and that I will probably be able to talk a state school round but would be interested to hear of people's experiences in the independent sector, as we would prefer a selective day school, if possible.
IME secondary independent schools don't have an issue with children who have been out of year at primary and have settled into a different cohort. They are less enthusiastic for those who decide to repeat or skip a year at the end of primary school, but if he does so at the start then they'll just take him as part of the cohort. There are occasionally issues around sports, especially if a formal competition against other teams/individuals, though I've only seen this in swimming and athletics.
Some won't accept (St Pauls for instance rejected one of ours) but most do. I'm guessing it is early days yet to know what sort of school will suit your DS. In our experience it is the state schools who have refused out of year boys who then have had to 'skip' a year to go into the age appropriate group. It would be worth talking to your LEA as it is probably LEA led rather than school Led. The montessori will be able to give you guidance as to how he is progressing through reception and year 1, and make a decision whether to keep him there a further year or move him out.
We looked at this as we have a late August child and it was sports issues which decided us against doing it. Our DS loves sport and would have been prevented from doing much of the team sport in and out of school due to age.
State schools wont do it.
Private schools should not do it.
Kids are only dainty 4 year olds for a short while
by the time they hit puberty that need to bee in their own age group
I know Winchester college won't take them out of year group as we thought of doing it for one of ours. Must be other similar schools. Depends which senior you want but you should prob check with them directly.
I have one out of year in an independent school also a late summer born child. It wasn't a problem when we moved from state school to repeat a year. My main concern is that if funds ever run out and we need to switch back to state school they are not flexible at all about this.
Travellingtoad I know a boy currently at Winchester who went a year late I don't know why (might be health related) but it's incorrect to say they won't ever take them out of year group.
Talk - why do children need to be with children the same age when they hit puberty? It's not like some magic switch which makes all 14 year old boys behave and think in the same way
In any given school year you will have children who are chronologically nearly a year apart and biologically several years apart.
Ds2 has asperger's and dyspraxia and has always been about 2-3 years behind emotionally - he has zilch in common with many of the adolescents he has to spend all day with and would probably be much more comfortable a year or two below. It's not been an option for us as he's academically able and v v tall but I can see there are plenty of arguments in favour of being out of year for some children - after all that's what happens in many other education systems as a matter of course
I was put up a year for secondary - there were girls in my classes 19 months older than me.
When it came to major exams and social life and maturity I really struggled in the later years of school and needed to redo stuff later on.
All of the people I know of my age who were put up a year at school hated it and would never do it to their own children.
Kids being put down a year can be just as bad unless the child is not really aware of the difference between them and the youngest in their class
It's not a problem in my experience.
I work in a private prep and we have a few children in each year who are out of year one way or the other. None of them have ever been required to stay another year here or leave a year early in order to rejoin their correct year in senior school.
Interestingly, I find you can rarely tell who's out of year, even in our oldest year (Y8) . I certainly forget. Those who are ahead become naturally more mature to fit in and those who are behind are usually very young for their real year and often behave/seem younger than they are anyway. I think a flexible system is so much better.
Wait till all the parties are in pubs or clubs and you're the only one that can't go.... Or when they all start drinking at parties at say 15. Would you want your 14 yo drinking? Or there all off to university and you can't go cos you'll only be 17.
You can go to university at 17! The ones who are a year ahead go early if they don't do a gap year. I don't think it is a good idea but it happens. Plenty of senior schools take children a year behind, especially those where English is a second language. Most seem ok with it but I did know of one girl at DDs school who was just a few months short of 20 when she took her A levels. DD was nearly 2 years younger! That did seem wrong.
It's quite difficult in England. We won't take anyone under 18 as they're a minor and we'd have to DBS check lecturers, and possibly other students. Scotland more set up for it admittedly given the different qualifications they do.
I was put through it.
I have NOTHING positive to say about it.
AS does my best man who had the same done to him
as does a fondly remembered ex
as so a couple of NCT friends
what seems right at 4 has to pan through to 16 ...
At DD's school when she was in reception she had a classmate who had been held back in the 'pre-reception class (like a nursery class but across the corridor) a girl who had a combination of issues which meant she wasn't ready for reception a year earlier. By year 2 she had caught up sufficiently to move to her 'real' year group. I don't know if the fact it was independent, had this pre-reception class etc made it easier to do or not but it was all just done on an as needs basis.
Perhaps things have changed but I went to university when I was 17. The college barman looked pretty nonplussed when I celebrated my 18 the the bar half way through the year, as I was far from an unknown face in there already.
I would be very surprised if this wasn't allowed now.
I am curious, why is there such rigidity on age in UK schooling? I would appreciate understanding the rationale behind the prevailing thinking/approach.
By contrast, in the US, some children are held back a year (or even two) if they fail to progress sufficiently (this can happen at any point in primary and secondary school). And if you are extremely bright, it is not uncommon to skip a year (or two) and child geniuses sometimes start university as young as 10 or 12.
It's quite difficult in England.
I don't think it is - every English university I have been involved with has taken students who aren't yet 18. Not all school systems are in line with each other so international students often graduate from high school and start university just before they are 18.
I was grade skipped and it worked out fine for me. Most of my family has been grade skipped, including my own DC. I have seen out of year students at university who probably shouldn't have been grade skipped but that doesn't mean that grade skipping should be completely dismissed.
BTW state schools will do it in some counties and under some circumstances: my DC have been offered state school places out of year. I also know of grammar schools which allow grade skipped children to take the 11+ and enter early.
However, for the OP, I think there are potentially more issues with holding back a year. Even if independent secondaries accept it, they will norm verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning against age in their entrance exams, and thus require a higher score. There may well be problems with going to a state sixth form as the funding might not be there for the last year. Etc etc.
"Does anyone have any experience of how independent schools view this in terms of admissions? "
There is no one voice for independent schools. You'll have to enquire with the ones you are thinking of.
You'll also have to bear in mind that a change of head can mean a complete change of attitude. So unless you are pretty sure you can commit to a school that runs through from pre-prep to sixth form, you are going to face uncertainties about secondary transfer. You'll have more options with private schools in the mix, but no guarantees.
DS has friend in his year who has late August birthday and should be in year above but started at parents request with DH's year. For his it has been great since he is small for his age and academically middle of the road. School is independent and I believe that the condition was that once the decision was made he would have to remain with the chosen year.
It has worked out well for him, however if he had been very bright he probably would have done better with his designated school year.
My DS had the same problem as your son and the same procedure when he was in YR 1. Up until then his progress was average. He didn't struggle but he didn't show his true ability. He had the op at Christmas and by Summer had made fantastic progress. However he is Sept born.
I would talk to school to see if they are willing to extend early years if he struggles. The earlier you do it the less disruptive it will be socially.
DS's school is a feeder for their secondary school so any decisions re acceleration or deceleration are decided at both levels.
I know an out of year child whose offer from Harrow was withdrawn.
dd has a late summer born child in her Reception class who was born very very prematurely. The nursery teachers themselves suggested to keep her down a year because it would have been a complete farce for her to start Reception at 4. She's now doing just about okay and I believe it was the right decision. It does mean the parents are stuck with keeping her where she is i.e. private. In a state school she would be forced to go straight into year 2 in September to meet the arbitrary 'year group' rule.
Like ASingleJourney I don't understand the UK system and was brought up with a very flexible system that seemed to work very well. dd's friend's situation would have been no issue at all and besides, she would have started formal schooling at 7 with a little more maturity under her belt by then.
Thanks for all your thoughts. I think that we will cross the bridge when we come to it, at the end of year 1. However, DS is lucky in that children often begin at the school midway through their nursery year ( in the same class) so it won't be at all obvious to him. I really do think our only sticking point will be secondary transfer but can hardly call up schools 7 years in advance!
That having been said, I have been amazed how much progress he has made since his operation. Although obviously young for his year, his language has come on and he's more confident socially.
Through my work I do know of some less academic private schools who would not have a problem with a child out of year group but I just don't want to limit our choices. Our first preferences would be for an independent day school, possibly Norwich or Ipswich school, which are both selective and pretty popular. I have come across a few children lately being kept down in state schools. I do hope that this means that schools are becoming more flexible in their outlooks, although I'm aware it's a tricky call to make and can be done for the wrong reasons.
I went up a year at school during primary and stayed with the new year for the rest of my school time (independent schools). Worked absolutely fine for me, no social issues.
A friend's August-born DS, with speech problems and possible dyslexia, moved to a private school mid-primary but moved down a year and it has worked perfectly for him. I'd wait and see in a year or two how he is doing, and go from there, as well as doing a bit of research with the local independent schools you are thinking of.
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